Saturday, July 07, 2007

Simple twits of faith

Via this Alternet story exposing Mitt Romney as one of America's leading hardcore pornographers, we learn that a ChristiaNet poll last year found that right wing Christians are, as a group, a bunch of porno hounds.

The poll results indicate that 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography," said Clay Jones, founder and President of Second Glance Ministries... 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year; and 20% of the church-going female participants struggle with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis.

Meanwhile, the idea of taking vows of celibacy is a big topic among Christian women.
why would I want to ruin the life of a king by leading him into the chambers of death / hades, because I chose to take him to bed instead of church? Why would I want to be the loose woman who is describe in the book of proverbs instead of the virteous woman instead?
---leandra on 7/7/07

There "could be" all kinds of explanations for these seemingly contradictory factoids, so Chuckling On-line Magazine conducted a comprehensive telephone survey to find out what's really going on. We found that women married to right wing Christians find their men so repulsive that they use the "vow of celibacy" tactic to keep the smelly oafs off of them, and if a porn video accidentally gets slipped into the DVD when nobody else is home, well that's just God's will, or Satan's. Whatever.

In related news, the NY Times reports that Hilary Clinton is a woman of faith herself. Commenting on the "vow of celibacy" and related pornograpy phenomena, she says:
“We all have things that oftentimes we’re upset about, or ashamed of, or feel guilty over, and so many people carry these enormous burdens around,” Mrs. Clinton said in a recent interview. “One of the great gifts of faith is to just let go.”

Laura Bush, poster girl for The Society for Christian Women Who Aren't Getting Any (SWCWAGA), was unavailable for comment.

Buffy says: Note to self: religion: freaky.

Christians: freakier.

Friday, July 06, 2007

A thousand light years from home

I regret to inform you that Chuckling on-line magazine will be going on a one week hiatus, maybe a little longer. The time has come when I must go out to the mountains and work on my 13 volume treatise on the films of Studio Ghibli. I’ve already drank the advance and still have roughly 4000 pages to write. I can hardly show myself in Manhattan.

My family has been trying to help. They gave me a stuffed Totoro for my birthday but the damned thing is freaking me out. It never blinks and that little package it carries gives off an ominous vibe. What I really wanted was a cat bus, but it’s probably a good thing I didn’t get it. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all with one of those freaks in the same room, much less write with it staring at me and flashing that fucked-up smile.

I was surprised to find myself fearing the little Totoro. There are some genuinely terrifying characters in Studio Ghibli fllms, but the Totoro’s are not among them. The movie itself doesn’t bother me in the least, not even the requisite little old lady. In Studio Ghibli movies, it’s usually the old ladies that give me the creeps. They are a big reason why I’ve gotten so far behind on the fourteen part treatise, well one of them anyway. I couldn’t bring myself to watch Spirited Away, which is undoubtedly one of the most terrifying films of all time, because of Yubaba, but I eventually sucked it up (or down to be more accurate) and got through it. I’ve watched it many times since. That’s the great thing about the Ghibli movies. They stand up to multiple viewings.

But even after conquering, or at least learning to tolerate my fear of Yubaba, I was still unable to get started on the 15 part series. The problem became ”how to start?“ I had to find an organizing principle. Most critics fall into the trap of the commonalities. Flying machines, pigs, little girls, little old ladies, nature, magic. Yes, those things are in most, if not all, Studio Ghibli movies, but they do not define them. That’s the problem. Nothing defines them, not in a storytelling sense anyway. They are certainly well-drawn, but that only defines them to a limited extent. The stories are the thing, and they are hard to grasp.

So I’ve scaled back my ambitions. Rather than tackle the entire ouvre from the start, I’ll begin with what I think of as the spirit trilogy -- Totoro, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. One could argue that Howl’s Moving Castle belongs in this group as well and perhaps it does. But for now I’ll leave it at that.

If you, reader, have not seen these films, I suggest you watch them in that order, then if you have any insights that would help fill out my 12 volume treatise, please feel free to share.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Flowers for algernons

Yesterday I went surfing through Blogger-land. Sometimes I like to click the “Next Blog” function for an hour or two and see what I find. I almost always discover great stuff.

It’s been awhile since I played that game. On a good day all it takes is a few clicks to find something wonderful -- great writers or at least great writing -- real people writing well about their lives.

But yesterday was not to be. Two hours clicking and all I got was commercial sites, maudlin family stuff, lonely guys and girls, and porn -- mostly in Portuguese. I don’t know if the blogosphere has changed that much or if I just had bad luck. There are, after all, two gazillion blogs out there. I only touched a hundred or so.

The only interesting thing I found was this photo at this blog which pretty much sums up everything I hate about porn.

I shouldn’t say that was the only interesting thing. Taken as a whole, the maudlin sites are fascinating. One thing I noticed (again) is how people like to take and exhibit photographs of flowers. Chuckling too, is a maudlin type. Chuckling too, takes pictures of flowers. What can you do reader? You are out there on the streets of Brooklyn, a borough world-renowned for its flora, carrying a camera. Do you just walk on by? I try, but I can’t. Just the day before yesterday I took pictures of flowers. I didn’t want to. But I did. Now I am exhibiting them. Just like half a gazillion other maudlin bloggers. I don’t want to do that either. But I am doing it for you reader. I am maudlin for you. But that’s what they all say, eh? All those maudlin people on all those maudlin blogs with all their maudlin flowers.

Although I, like just about everyone else, photograph flowers, I am not a flower photographer. I do not have the necessary equipment -- no professional macro lens, no ring flash, no high-end tripod. If you have all that stuff, it’s really not that difficult to get a fantastic flower pic. The only other thing you need is a light rain, or a mister.

Anyway, so I ‘m out walking in Brooklyn and see this harsh, interesting light behind some flowers. It’s the kind of light few flower photographers will ever see. The kind that breaks all the rules. The harsh light of the mid day summer sun. These are not good flower pics. If you are a flower photographer, turn away now.

And since somehow ugly porn creeped into this innocent little essay on flowers, I’ll show you how real hot sex can be portrayed in the classic mode.The last photo in the slideshow is a birds and the bees pic, which makes me wonder why they call it birds and the bees instead of the bees (or the birds) and the flowers. It’s not like the birds and the bees are fucking each other. Ah, but those flowers, so inviting they are.